So, remember how I said that Katie Walker (our RV) couldn’t off road? Well… everyone surprises you at times, don’t they?
Late July found us in Yolo County, inspecting baby grape vines which we have on order for our Canadian project. It was an educational stop for all of us with a tour of the nursery and a traditional German lunch with the WHOLE (even extended) Knights Family. From there, it was off to see Oma, my grandmother, who puts us all to shame (or, is a great life example) with her sprightliness at age 98. How many 98-year-olds make their grand and great-grandchildren dinner, sit and listen to them read for hours and then send them off with sandwiches which they made? We are so fortunate to have her in our lives and have had the time to stop in and just be with her.
Oma sent us on our way to her most favorite place in the whole world; the forest service cabin up in the Sierra Nevada which was built by her father-in-law. Katie Walker was a trooper heading up the mountain. Provisioning and errands took so long, that we were heading up the highway in the dark. Katie Walker loved the cool climb and tackled it with ease. So much ease that the next day, Cameron and I couldn’t help testing her metal a bit more. Due to her size, we had planned to drop camp along the way to the cabin and then be picked up and ferried in by my parents the next day. As the long road into the cabin is dirt, at 8,000 ft and consists of at least one water crossing, we had (when in the valley) firmly decided not to risk it. You were crazy if you thought she could get in there.
Well, we were feeling rather adventurous so we just kept saying “let’s just see how she does” “If she can’t make it past this turn, we will just back up to the closest camp site.” So, on and on we went…very slowly…past sharp turns, encroaching forest, washed out sections of the road, large boulders and WE MADE IT! Well, we lost the spare tire in the creek crossing, but no harm was done. We were all very proud to see Katie Walker sitting pretty right next to the cabins. It afforded us more time up there with family which was a huge blessing.
Camp was awesome as usual. We spent time with my parents for a few days and were then joined by my cousin Justin, his wife, and kids as well as her family. We all celebrated her father Ed’s 60th birthday with hikes and lots of great cocktails. After ducking daily thunderstorms, climbing peaks, walking valleys, fishing, singing, sliding down mountains and making lots of s’mores, it was time to head North for my 20th High School Reunion.
We pushed north through a thick fog of smoke. Fire season has covered the Northwest with a dense layer this year and we saw first hand what a bummer it is. Despite the smoke, we spent a lovely long weekend with my Aunt Carla and Uncle Paul in Bend, OR. We also enjoyed spending time with their pack of dogs and heard of horses! The girls were in fits when we left as they had bonded thoroughly with all their new four legged friends.
After swimming through the smokey air or Central Oregon, we made it to Walla Walla. I’m so impressed with my graduating class. I was fortunate to have such motivated, interesting and curious people as peers. I got to see my former choir teacher Mr. Dennis and many close friends from that time in my life. What a great group of people!
From Walla Walla, we ditched the RV at a repair shop to get a few kinks worked out while we took a rental car up to Canada for a week of work. They are making great progress in the construction of the winery and the team is wonderful. We are very excited and proud of the project.
Once back to Katie Walker, we were off to the eclipse in Idaho where we met up with my sister Karen, her husband Daniel, their daughter Jolie as well as some friends from Napa; Kendal, Maxime, Katia, Helen and Emerson. We met in the “Path of Totality” near the Sawtooth mountains in central Idaho just east of Stanley. With all the media hype we were a little nervous about traffic and all the crazies that might be coming out. But, to our complete joy, it was no busier than any other weekend (or so said a local). I can’t begin to describe how amazing the eclipse was. I think that if you were not in the path of totality, it was not much to see, cool, but nothing like the full meal deal. When the moon covered the sun and you could take your glasses off in the cool strangely gray air… the quiet… well, it would have been quiet except we were whooping and hollering because it was so amazing.
It was a straight shot North up to Whitefish Montana after the eclipse. We descended on my sister and proceeded to play for about a week. The girls had a blast with their cousin during the last week of her summer break. The girls swam in the lake, terrorized the neighborhood with the rest of the Cedar St. gang, built forts in the backyard and foraged for huckleberries. In all the visits I’ve made to see my sister, I’d never been to Glacier National Park! So in the interest of earning JR Ranger badges, we had a great visit. I could have stayed there indefinitely (or at least until the snow came). But, true to form in this leg of our RV life, it was time to move on.
More next time on some fun we have bee having with other traveling families as well as with some ancient animals!